SQL Server 2008 Consolidation

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  • 1. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations Abstract The white paper describes how SQL Server 2008 consolidation provides solutions to basic business problems pertaining to the usage of multiple SQL servers in an organization. The paper describes several methods for consolidating applications using Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and compares those methods linking key decision points to business requirements. January 2010
  • 2. Copyright © 2010 EMC Corporation. All rights reserved. EMC believes the information in this publication is accurate as of its publication date. The information is subject to change without notice. THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION IS PROVIDED “AS IS.” EMC CORPORATION MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND WITH RESPECT TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PUBLICATION, AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Use, copying, and distribution of any EMC software described in this publication requires an applicable software license. For the most up-to-date listing of EMC product names, see EMC Corporation Trademarks on EMC.com All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners. Part number h6860 SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 2
  • 3. Table of Contents Executive summary............................................................................................................4 Introduction ........................................................................................................................5 Problem statement .............................................................................................................6 Prospective soluitons .........................................................................................................7 Multiple databases single instance ....................................................................................7 Single database multiple instances....................................................................................8 Hypervisor-based consolidation .........................................................................................9 Differences in solutions ....................................................................................................10 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................17 References.......................................................................................................................19 SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 3
  • 4. Executive summary Business case Microsoft SQL Server has rapidly become the database of choice for a large number of prepackaged and custom-built business applications due to its robust feature set, ease of use, and highly competitive pricing. In some cases, these applications are introduced to small groups in a company, and are not given the infrastructure support that is provided to larger projects. These applications that are initially small and not business-critical can gradually grow into business-critical resources that require proper support. In other cases, the applications may be unknown outside the user community until there is a problem and the business is affected by an application that the IT department did not know about. In both cases, it is very common to find that the database applications are not using their resources as efficiently as they should. A study in September 2005 revealed that the average processor utilization for Microsoft data center servers was only 9.75 percent and these servers were utilizing 100 percent of their power and cooling requirements. The processor utilization is estimated to drop by 2 percent based on the estimation of the processor demands against the fast-growing processor potentials. The study was part of the RightSizing initiative of Microsoft. Product In such an environment it makes a great deal of business sense to try to solution consolidate database applications and resources so that they can be used more efficiently. There are several ways to approach this problem ranging from native SQL Server-based solutions to hypervisor-based virtualization. This paper presents several approaches and examines how the solutions differ in terms of cost, manageability, security, and performance. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 4
  • 5. Introduction Purpose This paper compares native SQL Server, and hypervisor-based virtualization with VMware ESX Server and Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V based on ease of use, cost, and performance. Scope The paper is not intended to provide a complete guide to implement a consolidation project, but it can help with the decision making process from a business perspective. Audience The audience of this paper includes: • Customers, including IT planners, storage architects and administrators, involved in evaluating, acquiring, managing, operating, or designing a database consolidation strategy • EMC staff and partners for guidance and development of proposals related to database consolidation Terminology The following table explains the terms used in this white paper: Term Definition Consolidation The process of combining the workloads of under-utilized systems into a smaller number of systems to improve the utilization of resources. Consolidation helps to reduce wasted capacity in an environment and leads to a reduction in maintenance costs, required power and cooling capacity, and administrative overhead. Consolidation candidate A server, typically a small system, which has been identified for consolidation Consolidation server The target server for the consolidation project. At the end of consolidation, this server will host all the databases previously served by the consolidation candidates. Consolidated dataase or The logical entity on the consolidation server system which corresponds to an individual consolidation candidate. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 5
  • 6. Problem statement Description Most SQL Server deployments have a single application database residing on a physical server. This is a simple way to create new applications for immediate use and this helps to set the stage for consolidation. As businesses expand, these simple deployments of single applications can become more important. The application that was designed for one or two people to keep track of some important information can evolve into a business-critical application that can cripple the functioning of the organization if it is unavailable. Typically, when this happens, the application is moved to a data center and supported as a critical resource. At this point, the application server is either moved physically to a data center, or the application is moved to server class hardware in the data center. The problem associated with this process may not be apparent immediately. However, after the databases are moved to the data center the following of concerns arise: • If the applications and their servers are moved to a data center, there are different kinds of heterogeneous hardware in the data center, which may not be designed for such use. This can lead to increased maintenance and administrative costs. • If the applications are moved to server class hardware, it may not be using the resources efficiently. These servers are typically much more powerful than those found outside the data center. They use power and cooling at a fixed rate, and if their processors are not utilized properly, the power and cooling capacity is wasted. Regardless of how the applications are moved to the data center, the individual applications and servers end up wasting a lot of resources. The paper provides an overview of several methods of database consolidation available to an organization and is intended to help in the decision-making process. It highlights the pros and cons of each consolidation method and on the feasibility of each solution. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 6
  • 7. Prospective soluitons Overview The following are the three main solutions for consolidation of SQL databases in an environment: • Multiple databases single instance • Single database multiple instances • Hypervisor-based consolidation Multiple databases single instance Implementation In this solution a single powerful machine is selected as the consolidation server. Then a single default or named instance of SQL Server is installed on a Windows Server. The databases from individual consolidation candidates are migrated from the physical servers to the consolidation server by using one of the following approaches: • Detach and attach • Backup and restore • Data replication Most database administrators will be familiar with these approaches. For more information, refer to Microsoft SQL Server Books Online. The following figure shows the consolidation of multiple databases into a single consolidation server. This solution has many advantages in terms of cost and the amount of effort required for consolidation. However, this solution can increase the challenges associated with ongoing database maintenance and security. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 7
  • 8. Single database multiple instances Implementation In this solution, the databases from the individual physical servers or consolidation candidates are moved to a respective named instance of SQL Server on a single powerful machine that has been selected as the consolidation server. Just like the multiple databases, databases from individual consolidation candidates are migrated from the physical servers to the consolidation server by using one of the following approaches: • Detach and attach • Backup and restore • Data replication The following figure showe the consolidation of a single database with multiple instances. This solution is more secure and helps to isolate each database but it can be very resource-intensive when compared to the other solutions. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 8
  • 9. Hypervisor-based consolidation Implementation This solution converts consolidation candidates to virtual machines using physical to virtual conversion, an approach more commonly known as P2V. In this solution, the physical systems hosting SQL Server consolidation candidates are converted into virtual machines hosted either on a VMware ESX server or Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V. Thus, the entire database system in its entirety is moved to the consolidation hypervisor machine. The following figure shows the hypervisor-based consolidation. This solution is entirely different from the first two. It eliminates the security- related concerns of the first solution and is not as resource-intensive as the second solution. However, it can be more expensive. It also enables high- availability and advanced management functionality that may not have been present in the original systems. The approach has minimal or no downtime associated with it for the P2V process. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 9
  • 10. Differences in solutions Overview The prospective solutions must to be weighed on various scales to understand the feasibility of the solutions in an environment. The decision of which solution to use must be based on the business requirements for the system considered in conjunction with the technical details of each consolidation method. The solutions for consolidation are weighed on the following criteria to arrive at a decision to choose a particular solution for an environment. • Direct cost • Ease of consolidation • Ease of administration • Application performance This section describes each of the factors for each of the prospective solutions and their differences that can drive the selection of one solution over another. Direct cost The cost of a solution in terms of hardware and software is important in any consolidation effort. Each of the potential solutions has different requirements in this area. The primary components of direct costs are the consolidation server hardware and the software licenses that are required. Let’s assume that the consolidation candidate server is either an existing server, or a fixed cost for all of the consolidation scenarios. At that point the software licensing cost is the primary factor to consider. The two solutions involving SQL Server native consolidation methods (single instance and multiple instances) are equivalent in terms of cost and less expensive than the hypervisor based scenario. Both the solutions require a Windows Server license for the consolidation server, and a SQL server license for the server. Based on the Microsoft SQL Server licensing page, multiple instances on the same SQL server are free, so the multiple-instance solution is not more expensive than the single-instance solution. Both the scenarios are likely to save costs over the existing configuration because each of the consolidation candidate servers had to be licensed separately for both their Operating System and SQL Server. Therefore, fewer licenses will be required for the environment. The hypervisor-based virtualization scenario tends to incur more direct costs. The operating system from the consolidation candidates will still be used. Fortunately, Windows Server 2008 R2 licensing is designed for virtualization; each server license allows a number of virtual machines on the same physical hardware to share the license. The numbers that are allowed SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 10
  • 11. depend on the server edition you select. If you select a VMware ESX hypervisor, there will be an additional license cost for that software. The following table shows the cost comparison of the three solutions. Single Multiple Hypervisor instance instance Cost compared with Less Less More preconsolidation expensive expensive expensive environment Ease of Each of the potential solution takes a different amount of effort for consolidation implementation in an environment. Though it is not obvious as the software and hardware costs, each solution also differs in terms of the amount of time and effort required to complete the consolidation process. Often when a new process is implemented on an existing system, the length and complexity of the process over a period of time is not studied. It is the same with consolidation. Each consolidation candidate needs to be shepherded through a consolidation process ensuring that the data remains safe and secure, and the users are able to use the data in the same way after consolidation. Data migration There are many ways to migrate data. This paper covers the two major methods of migrating databases from consolidation candidates to the consolidation server. You can migrate the data all at once using a detach, copy, attach sequence or a backup and restore sequence. You can also create a replicated database on the consolidation server and allow it to gradually catch up with the production site by using technologies such as, transactional replication, log shipping, or database mirroring. At some point, you can transition to the consolidation server copy. The good news here is that while the choice of a method is important, it is not directly related to the choice of a consolidation method. Both the migration methods work the same way with any of the consolidation methods. Data security Security is often overlooked until right after it becomes important. Consolidation can have a significant impact on the security of data, so it needs to be evaluated before choosing a consolidation method. In the preconsolidation environment, each server was managed separately, which means that each database could be secured separately using different rules depending on the data requirements – this is clearly a highly flexible model. The hypervisor consolidation model retains the flexibility and provides the advantages of consolidation. Each database is still running inside a virtual machine, and each virtual machine can be managed and secured separately. The other two solutions compromise this model. In the multiple instance SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 11
  • 12. solution, the server administrator still has a high level of access to the data for all the consolidated databases. This may not be acceptable for some kinds of sensitive data. In the single instance solution not only does the server level administrator have access to all of the data, but the database server administrative roles are also shared reducing the flexibility of the security model further. Data availability The database is useless if the users are unable to access information. Any serious discussion of consolidation must address the changes that are required on the part of the user community and their database applications resulting from the consolidation effort. The hypervisor solution is again the least invasive option. Each virtual machine can retain the network identity of the original machine and the client programs can continue to access data in a different location with no changes. However, for the other two solutions the network identity and database connection string of the database change as a result of consolidation. Depending on how a client application is constructed, this can be addressed by a simple change in an ODBC connector, or using a completely new version of the application. The user applications for each consolidation candidate system must be evaluated independently so that all the necessary changes are well understood before making any change to a working system. The following table compares the consolidation methods based on data availability. Single Instance Multiple Instance Hypervisor Data Similar across all Similar across all Similar migration methods methods across all methods Data Server and Database Server level Highly security administrators are administrators are flexible shared across all shared across all instances instances Data Network identity and Network identity and No changes availability connection string will connection string will required change change SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 12
  • 13. Ease of In addition to the costs and efforts associated with the consolidation process; administration the systems still must be maintained after consolidation. The point of a consolidation process is to reduce not only the hardware footprint of the applications, which reduces the associated maintenance, power, and cooling costs, but to also reduce or not increase management challenges associated with the system. After database applications are consolidated, they need to be maintained. The good news is that regardless of the consolidation solution adopted, the same tools will be used to manage the databases. SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) is still the primary administrative interface to the database engine, and Remote Desktop can still gain an administrator access to the underlying Windows Server operating system. However, there are some differences that need to be considered. The security concerns listed in the “Ease of consolidation” section still exist – and they will exist for the life of the system. In addition, a hypervisor-based solution may add additional layers of software that need management. This will include new tools such as VMware vCenter Server and Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM). Single instance Multiple Hypervisor instance Ongoing Security Security Additional management concerns need concerns need management of and to be managed to be managed tools such as administration across the life across the life vCenter Server or of the system. of the system. SCVMM are required. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 13
  • 14. Application The impact on application performance is often a major source of concern in performance any significant consolidation project. There is fear of breaking a system that is working and performing well for a gain that may not be worth the cost if the performance suffers. The performance of the system after consolidation should be at least similar, if not better than the system performance prior to consolidation. Every application is different, and their performance may react differently to consolidation. However, in an effort to help remove confusion from the process, EMC has conducted a series of tests with a sample OLTP workload. NOTE: The OLTP workload is similar to the TPC-C benchmark; however this is not a benchmark run. To determine the workload for the consolidation performance tests, the target system was characterized. Because the main purpose is to compare the consolidation methods, it is reasonable to ensure that the aggregated workload is comfortably within the capabilities of the target system. The consolidation server workload is scaled until the average user response time reaches two seconds, which is considered a standard threshold for unacceptable response. This value is the maximum workload that can be reasonably supported on the physical configuration. For example, if the maximum workload is 100. It is not considered a best practice to run a system with the maximum workload for sustained periods of time as it is far from the stated goal of being comfortably within the capabilities of the system. To provide a comparision of consolidation methods without bias due to an excessive load level, the target workload was set to half the maximum workload. In the stated example, the workload would be 50. The workload is then divided between the 10 consolidation candidates so that each one is handling 5 percent of the maximum load of the system. In this case the workload would be five. When executing the consolidation procedure, each consolidation candidate workload was added to the consolidation server separately so that the behavior of the system can be observed as the workload scales up. Based on the initial testing, the server was expected to handle the aggregate workload. Therefore, the test series was well suited to study the performance differences between the consolidation methods. The first comparison was based on the number of transactions per second (TPS) that was achieved by the system. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 14
  • 15. From the figure it can be noted that the multiple instance consolidation solution was not able to scale up when compared to the other solutions. A small amount of degradation was observed in the other cases, but the multiple instance method was clearly degrading more significantly. The following table shows the percentage of degradation with all the consolidation candidate systems running post-consolidation. Method TPS Degradation Single Instance 8% Multi-Instance 60% VMware 2.5% Hyper-V R2 7.5% Another interesting factor in consolidation is an understanding of how hard the server is working after consolidation. The following figure shows the utilization of the consolidation server processor as the consolidation candidate systems are added. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 15
  • 16. It can be noted that the multiple instance solution is very different from the other solutions. Based on the figures in this section, it can be observed that multiple instance is not an ideal solution for maintaining application performance. The other three methods show roughly similar performance, scaling up with the load as expected. The single instance method seems to be growing faster than the two hypervisor-based methods; however, with only 10 consolidation candidates it is not clear if this path will be sustained further. Single instance Multiple Hypervisor instance Performance Scales easily Scaling breaks Scales easily as as down quickly consolidation consolidation when multiple workloads are workloads are consolidation added. added workloads are running, the aggregate TPS is up to 60 percent lower than expected. NOTE: The performance of the two hypervisors is measured at the hypervisor layer instead of aggregating the performance in the guest virtual machines. There are known discrepancies with such aggregate methods that have been well documented by both VMware and Microsoft. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 16
  • 17. Conclusion Summary A flexible server consolidation solution enables organizations to save costs by centralizing database services on fewer servers. By providing a centralized data services management interface and policy-based management, SQL Server makes it easy for organizations with multiple data stores to reduce management overhead. The industry-leading features and performance of SQL Server 2008 Enterprise and its ability to explicitly control server resources enables you to consolidate your data services while providing the scalability and performance your applications require. The various consolidation methods presented in this paper have specific differences in terms of cost, ease of consolidation, ease of administration, and performance as summarized in the following table: Single Multiple instance Hypervisor instance Cost compared Less Less expensive Similar or more with expensive expensive preconsolidation environment Data migration Similar Similar across all Similar across all across all methods methods methods Data security Server level Server level Highly flexible and administrators are Database shared across all level instances administrator s are shared across all instances Data availability Network Network identity No changes identity and and connection required connection string changes string changes Ongoing Security Security concerns Additional management concerns needs to be Management tools and needs to be managed across such as vCenter administration managed the life of the Server or SCVMM across the system. are required. life of the system. Performance Scales easily Scaling breaks Scales easily as as down quickly consolidation SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 17
  • 18. consolidation when multiple workloads are workloads consolidation added. are added. workloads are running. For every database consolidation project, evaluate each of these categories independently and determine which method is best for the specific environment. Database environments are complex, and can vary significantly from each other; there is no single solution that is best in all cases for all environments. The good news is that EMC Proven Solutions can help you create, back up, and protect database storage solutions for any environment. SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 18
  • 19. References Related Refer to the following documents available on Powerlink®: documents • EMC Virtual Infrastructure for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enabled by EMC Celerra, EMC Replication Manager, and VMware vSphere 4 — Reference Architecture • EMC Business Continuity for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enabled by EMC Celerra and VMware vSphere 4 — Reference Architecture Additional Refer to the folloiwng websites for additional informaiton: information • Microsoft SQL Server license http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/licensing.aspx • Microsoft Window server license http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/licensing- overview.aspx • VMware ESX server license http://www.vmware.com/products/vsphere/ • Technical Case Study on virtualization http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/F/F/9FF596C1-B83C-44A6- 8BB8-32332FF264F7/0558IdentifyingVirtualServersTCS.doc SQL Server 2008 Consolidation Technology Concepts and Business Considerations 19